How To Make Mac And Cheese For Kids

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Freezer & Leftover Tips

Creamy Mac N Cheese Recipe | Healthy Mac and Cheese With Hidden Vegetables | Kids Lunch Recipe

Did you know you can make ahead boxed mac and cheese and pop it in the freezer to eat later? It’s a meal prep game changer! Bring your cooked mac and cheese to room temp. Then place it in an airtight container and pop in the freezer. It will last up to a year!

To warm it up, thaw completely and then heat up on the stove. We suggest adding in a splash of milk and a pat of butter to up the creaminess factor!

Pro Tip: Heating up leftover macaroni and cheese in the microwave? Add in a splash of milk to keep the mixture from drying out! Cover with plastic wrap and vent to let the steam out, then microwave for 60-90 seconds, depending on your portion size.

Now for the hard part Deciding which of these recipes to try first! Let us know your favorite mac and cheese add-ins are in the comments below!

Looking for more kid-friendly meal inspiration?

Stay cheesy!

Faqs About Homemade Mac And Cheese

This mac and cheese recipe is one of my most popular, so here are some of the commonly asked questions.

How do you store mac and cheese?

Store the leftovers of this homemade mac and cheese recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since it thickens as it cools, you may need to add 1-2 TBS of milk when it’s reheated it to restore its original creaminess.

Can homemade mac and cheese be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze this homemade mac and cheese, however I don’t recommend it. Since this mac and cheese recipe is so easy to make, there’s really no need to freeze it. If you’re looking for a freezer-friendly mac and cheese recipe check out my baked mac and cheese!

What main dish goes well with mac and cheese?

If you’re looking to serve this mac and cheese recipe as a side dish instead of the main event, here are some suggestions for other dishes that pair well with it: meatloaf

Making Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time

  • Make as directed , transfer to baking dish and cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
  • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

As a caveat, this recipe, as with most mac and cheese recipes, loses some of its creaminess when made ahead. This dish has been tested when made right away, which yields the best results.

I would increase the amount of sauce slightly if you need to make this recipe ahead of time.

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How To Make Stovetop Mac & Cheese

This recipe is SO EASY, just five steps, and one of those is putting it on the table!

1. Cook the Pasta Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain & set to the side.

2. Start the Simple Sauce Warm 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl whisk ½ cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of flour until there are no lumps. When steam begins rising from the warm milk, whisk in the extra milk & flour mixture. Continue whisking until the milk thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. This should take 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the Cheese Turn the heat to low and add shredded cheese to the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Adjust the seasoning as desired. Remove from Heat.

4. Mix it All Together Combine the pasta and half of the cheese sauce. Stir until the cheese coats the pasta evenly and then add the rest of the cheese sauce and any desired mix-ins.

5. Serve! Dish it up into bowls and serve this warm, creamy mac & cheese right away. YUM!

Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese

Easy Macaroni &  Cheese Recipe

The Chunky Chef09/30/2019

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This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both children and adults. It uses a combination of cheeses, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness! Perfect for a comforting dinner or as a holiday side dish!

Looking for other comfort food dishes? Check out my Homemade Sloppy Joes, Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Crockpot Meatloaf, and Homestyle No-Boil Mashed Potatoes!


Baked mac and cheese. Its nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations! In fact, I almost didnt post this recipe, as there are SOOOO many mac and cheese recipes available, and most people already have their favorite way of making it.

Of course, theres no right way or wrong way, so Im here sharing the way I like to make my mac and cheese .

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Tips For The Best Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe

  • Boil the pasta in very well-salted water. The salt in the water seasons the noodles, adding flavor to the dish.
  • Cook the pasta just until its al dente almost tender, but still firm to the bite. You dont want to completely cook the noodles until theyre tender, because they will continue baking in the oven.
  • Allow the cheese, milk and half-and-half to come to room temperature before adding them to the recipe. They will blend together smoothly if theyre not cold.
  • Start with blocks of cheddar cheese that you grate yourself at home, rather than using bags of pre-shredded cheese from the store. The pre-shredded cheese includes stabilizers and other ingredients to prevent the cheese from clumping, which inhibits its ability to melt smoothly into the dish.
  • If you prefer a crispier, darker brown top on your mac and cheese, place the dish under the broiler during the final few minutes of baking. Just be sure to keep a close eye on it so that the top doesnt burn.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish.

Simple Mac And Cheese Recipe Without Flour

This simple mac and cheese recipe is made without flour or cheese product, just REAL cheese. Homemade macaroni and cheese has never been this easy.

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Mac and cheese is the ultimate kid favorite, and lets be honest, adult favorite, too. The boxed mac and cheese is popular for a reasonits easy as can be, and delicious. But this recipe is, too! We skip the flour so that you dont have to whisk away at a roux, and we use real cheese- a major upgrade from cheese powder or cheese product. In addition, were boosting the nutrition, because, why not?

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The Best Cheeses To Use For Mac And Cheese

The type of cheese you use can make or break your mac and cheese sauce.

Armando Rafael

Take a moment to think about the best mac and cheese youve ever had. Perhaps youd describe it as ooey-gooey, creamy or cheesy. At its worst, mac and cheese is grainy, stringy or greasy. The type of cheese you use can make or break your sauce. But perhaps the name itself is a misnomer. The ideal mac and cheese needs more than one kind of cheese.

When youre cruising down the cheese aisle, two factors to consider are meltability and flavor. Generally, young and processed cheeses melt smoothly but taste bland when theyre mixed with a few pounds of pasta. Aged and funky blocks are tricky melters but add a lot of complex cheese flavor to the dish. This dichotomy explains why mac and cheese recipes often call for not one, but several types of cheese.

But there is one go-to that you’ll almost always see. An overview of Food Networks mac and cheese roundup reveals that most recipes have one type of cheese in common: sharp Cheddar. Sharp Cheddar especially the inexpensive, mass-market block you can buy at the supermarket strikes just the right balance between meltability and flavor. Consider it your base cheese. If you dont want to buy three different types of cheese and rack up the grocery bill, its completely fine to use Cheddar on its own. Just stay away from the pre-shredded kind, which often contains additives like cornstarch that interfere with silky melting.

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How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:

  • The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
  • Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
  • Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
  • Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
  • Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.

Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese

I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.

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About This Mac And Cheese Recipe

First thing this recipe uses the instant pot, but you could make it on the stovetop if you are instant pot-less.

Oh, and were adding some veggies in, too. I mean, would I even be a dietitian if I didnt think about an extra nutrient boost? Canned pumpkin or butternut squash puree blend in seamlessly and add to the creaminess. In other words, you might never make mac and cheese without veggies again after you try it this way.

Canned pumpkin/squash is one of my all-time favorite ingredients, most importantly, because it is so versatile. I also use it in these muffins and this cheeseless kid-friendly pasta. When you use canned pumpkin or squash, you add a great serving of vitamin A, and fiber. I prefer the Libbys brand for canned pumpkin. Some others to be a bit watery.

Many recipes use heavy cream or sour cream, however, I like using canned pumpkin or squash in place of those to make the dish a little bit lighter, too. Everyone in my house was happy with this version, so Im like, why add heavy cream if we dont need to?

The recipe does not call for any milk, but you may find you want to add a splash of milk if you want to thin it out a little bit.

Kinds Of Cheese For The Best Mac And Cheese

Make Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe has a combination of cheeses to boost the flavor. First up is shredded cheese sharp cheddar cheese or extra sharp cheddar is the best. The sharp cheese works better than more mild cheeses like colby jack or monterey jack cheese.

Now, if you have a few extra minutes, I highly recommend shredding the cheese yourself from a block of cheddar cheese. Pre-shredded bagged cheese works in a pinch, but for the best flavor and best creamy texture, freshly shredded is best.

How do we make sure to get a creamy cheese sauce? Cream cheese! It helps make a creamy sauce. While the recipe calls for cream cheese, you can substitute butter, but I think the cream cheese adds a nice mild tang and creaminess that butter lacks. Still delicious with butter, though. And if you want to go nuts, feel free to add some grated parmesan cheese in there as well or just sprinkle some on top.

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How Long Does Mac & Cheese Last

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but this recipe is always such a hit, its hard to find them in the fridge that long unless you double the recipe.

You can also freeze macaroni and cheese if youre planning on saving it for a later day. When reheating, you can add a splash of milk to make it just as creamy as the first day.

Baked Macaroni And Cheese Recipes

There are as many different baked macaroni and cheese recipes as there are home cooks. In the South, baked mac and cheese is typically just a simple combination of pasta, eggs, butter, milk and cheese. The eggs set up to create a firm casserole that you can slice into squares to serve. If you prefer that style dish, try my favorite Southern Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. This recipe, by contrast, uses a roux to make a creamy béchamel that coats the noodles in sauce. If you’re looking for the ultimate creamy baked mac and cheeserecipe, then you’ve come to the right place!

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What Type Of Cheese

This classic mac and cheese recipe is made with cheddar cheese. I particularly love medium or sharp cheddar cheese but any type will do. If you want a more luxurious mac and cheese or youre really trying to impress a crowd, you could use a combination of different cheeses. Just be sure to select a type of cheese that is good for melting, like white cheddar, smoked gouda, gruyere, brie, goat cheese, mozzarella, or fontina.

What To Serve With Creamy Baked Mac And Cheese

Mac & Cheese\Easy To Make Mac & Cheese\Kids Favourite recipe

Old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese is a hearty, delicious and satisfying casserole on its own. Serve it as a dinner entrée and your family will be thrilled! Just add a simple green salad, roasted broccoli, or Southern Collard Greens on the side, or mix in chicken, ham or veggies with the pasta.

The homemade mac and cheese is also an easy side dish that goes well with any of these meals:

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Tips And Tricks For Making The Best Homemade Mac And Cheese:

  • The cheese sauce is a bit soupy right after making. You can either let it stand for 10 minutes before serving or just give your family spoons and serve it in a bowl. The sauce does thicken as it cools and as the macaroni absorbs it.
  • Feel free to use a different cheese or a combination of different cheeses to change things up a bit. My go-to is always classic sharp cheddar cheese.
  • You can use different shaped pasta just be sure to cook it to al dente before draining and adding additional ingredients.
  • This is best made and eaten right away. Its ok as leftovers and reheated, but hot off the stove is when its best.

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Macaroni Cheese For Kids

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  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions and drain when cooked
  • Heat the butter and when melted, add a generous tablespoon of plain flour and mix it in
  • Add some black pepper and a little nutmeg or mustard powder – cook on a low heat, stirring all the time, for about 30-60 seconds
  • Add the milk a little at a time and mix well with a whisk – you should end up using about 450ml of milk
  • Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, to thicken the sauce, then add a big handful of grated cheddar cheese to make it a cheese sauce
  • Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir well
  • Serve straight away or put into an oven proof dish, grate some more cheese over and bake at 180’C/Gas mark 5 for 10 minutes
  • Best Tips For Success

    Top 10 Macaroni And Cheese Recipe For Kids
    • Use the type of pasta your family prefers, whether whole wheat, gluten-free, bean-based, or traditional.
    • Try serving the cheese sauce as a dipping sauce for other cooked veggies.
    • You can use canned butternut squash puree if desired.
    • Use orange cheese for the most vivid orange color.
    • Stir in frozen peas to add another easy veggie.
    • My kids like this with a little less sauce than the recipe makes, though I prefer it saucy. You can stir in as much or as little as you like and store the leftover sauce in an airtight container to use on another day.
    • Double the recipe to make more!

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